8.2 Hilton of Cadboll

Tarbat Ness is home to a number of standing stones which reflect the artistic skill and Christian faith of the Pictish people who carved them. The stones may have marked the boundary of the lands controlled by the monastery at Portmahomack.

Cadboll full stone © Alan Sproull

The cross-slab at Hilton of Cadboll is a replica of the stone which originally stood here. It was carved in 2000. The land-facing back of the stone is a copy of the original stone which is now in the Museum of Scotland. However, the sea-facing front side was defaced in the 17th century so the replica is mostly based on Pictish designs.

The lower portion of the stone was re-discovered in 2001 and is now preserved in the Seaboard Memorial Hall in nearby Ballintore.

There are three standing stones on the east coast of Tarbat Ness - here at Hilton of Cadboll, in the adjoining village of Shandwick and further south at Nigg.

Artist, Barry Grove, created a design for this side of the stone based on the surviving fragment and typical Pictish designs and symbols.

The original stone once stood outside St Mary’s Chapel, a short distance from the sea. The chapel remains are now only visible as grass-covered mounds. The stone was broken a number of times. In 1676 the upper part of the front was defaced and re-used as a gravestone. The carvings were replaced with an inscription commemorating Alexander Duff and his three wives.

Cadboll stone © Alan Sproull

The central panel of the stone shows a hunting scene. A woman wearing an ornate broach rides on horseback. She is accompanied by two other riders and two people on foot playing trumpet. Three dogs are bounding beside them.

hunting scene © Alan Sproull

To the left of the woman are a comb and mirror symbol. Other typical Pictish symbols appear above - a crescent and v-rod, and at the top, a double disc and z-rod.

The lower part of the Hilton of Cadboll stone was lost and only rediscovered in 2001. Having been buried underground for so long, the details of the stone carving have not weathered or worn away.

The base is now in the local Seaboard Memorial Hall. Check the website for opening hours.

 

Getting there

Hilton of Cadboll is 6 miles south of Portmahomack. Follow the B9165 until you see a signpost on the left for Hilton of Cadboll. Take this road down towards the village.

A short distance past the Glenmorangie House hotel there is a small parking area on the left. The cross is a short walk down below road level.


 
   
  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.
     

    8.1 Tarbat Discovery Centre, Portmahomack

    Between 1994 and 2007 archaeologists excavated an area around the church of St Colman at Portmahomack on the tip of Tarbat Ness. They discovered an extensive monastic settlement dating from the late 6th century.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.
     

    8.2 Hilton of Cadboll

    The cross-slab at Hilton of Cadboll is a replica of the stone which originally stood here. It was carved in 2000. The land-facing back of the stone is a copy of the original stone which is now in the Museum of Scotland.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.
     

    8.3 Shandwick

    The cross-slab stone at Shandwick is covered with Christian symbols. This is an expression of Pictish Christianity rather than being a stone which combines pagan and religious designs.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.
     

    8.4 Nigg Stone

    The Nigg Stone is one the finest carved Pictish stones. It was carved around 800AD - or perhaps earlier - and is covered in Christian symbols.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.
     

    8.5 Craig Phadraig

    Craig Phadraig is a wooded hill on the edge of Inverness. Follow the path up the hill to discover the possible remains of King Brude’s fort.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.
     

    8.6 Other Pictish Stone Sites North of Inverness

    Explore the history of the Picts along the east coast from Inverness northwards.